An assessment of the effect of sex and age on complaints of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome

Andrzej Żyluk, Paulina Żyluk-Gadowska, Filip Fliciński


Introduction: Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common compressive neuropathy in the upper limb. Morbidity is approx. 4 times higher in women than in men. Clinical observations suggest that the course of the disease, including the severity of symptoms, varies depending on the sex and age of the patients. The objective of the study was to investigate this issue.

Materials and methods: The study group consisted of 1,117 patients, 909 women (81%) and 208 men (19%) with a mean age of 59 years. Each patient declared their subjective perception of pain intensity using the Numeric Rank Scale (NRS) and completed the Levine questionnaire which evaluates the severity of symptoms caused by the disease.

Results: A mean pain intensity in the NRS (6.3 vs. 5.4) and in the symptoms judged by the Levine questionnaire (3.1 vs. 2.9) were statistically significantly higher in women than in men, although these differences were borderline regarding clinical significance. A comparison of variables in the age groups (from <40 to >80 years) showed no statistically or clinically significant differences: for NRS 5.8–6.5 and for the Levine symptom score 3.0–3.2.

 Conclusion: Women suffering from CTS experience slightly more intensive pain than men, but this has no clinical significance. The age of the patients has no impact on experience of complaints caused by the syndrome.


carpal tunnel syndrome; clinical assessment; pain scales

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